Since it was first prepared as an infusion in Arab countries and then exported and spread throughout Europe in the 17th century, coffee has become one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world.
Highly known for its stimulating properties and its ability to combat fatigue and tiredness, in addition to other beneficial properties, since the origins of its consumption have been developed different forms of preparations, there is today a wide variety of types of coffee that we can take . That is why throughout this article we will see some of the most common and known in the market.
What is coffee?
Although it is a widely known concept, before talking about types of coffee it may be convenient to briefly mention what we call coffee.
We call as such the drink obtained by means of the infusion made with the roasted grains (either whole or ground) of the coffee tree or plant, a small shrub native to Africa and Asia and which has been subsequently exported all over the world. With a bitter and intense taste, it is a product high in caffeine, which has stimulating and activating properties for our organism.
The type of flavor and properties of the beverage obtained will depend largely on the conditions in which the plants from which the grains are to be obtained grow, being for example the light, humidity, climate, the method of separation of the grains and the roasting process prior to grinding, elements to be taken into account in addition to the existence of different species and varieties to explain the variations in flavor and strength.
Three basic types depending on the origin of the plant
Although there is a wide range of countries where coffee trees are cultivated, the truth is that in general we can find three main types of coffee depending on the variety of the plant that is cultivated, being mainly two species used and the third option the combination of the beans of both types.
The type of coffee that is most used and at the same time most appreciated is the one that corresponds to the first variants used to produce the beverage: Arabica coffee.
This species from Ethiopia with several subspecies tends to be delicate and to provide a grain with a very aromatic taste and a considerable amount but less than the other existing variety in terms of caffeine level. Despite its African origin, it is currently more commonly cultivated in the countries of South America, Asia and Central America .
Although it tends to be less used in general, this variety has the important characteristic of having a much higher level of caffeine than the previous one, something that makes p rovoca that the taste it produces when drunk is much more intense . and with a much more bitter tone.
A large part of the coffees we drink do not come only from one of the two previous species and their varieties, but we usually find ourselves facing a mixture in different proportions of both. The exact proportion may depend on among other things on the type of elaboration that is intended to be done.
Main types of coffee according to their preparation
Besides the type of coffee tree from which it is obtained, it is very useful to take into account that there is a wide variety of types of coffee based on the type of preparation that we carry out with the beans or if we accompany it with elements such as milk, cocoa or even alcoholic drinks. Some of the best known are the following.
1. Espresso/ Black coffee
One of the most basic and simple types of coffee, only consists of an infusion of coffee which is made by boiling water in contact with the grain . It can be brewed in a few seconds. It is a short type of coffee, and its size is usually around 30 cl. It is common to use coffee of the Arabic variant. It usually has some foam on top.
This variant of the espresso is characterised by having the same amount of coffee as the previous one but using a smaller proportion of water .
3. Cut or macchiato
One of the most demanded usually, we call cut or macchiato to a type of espresso to which is added a slight amount of milk, which stains or dyes the coffee.
The American coffee is a type of coffee derived from the espresso which is characterized by adding a much greater amount of water than usual in this type of preparation, resulting in a product with a less powerful flavor and somewhat more watery, something that makes it less bitter and facilitates a sweet taste. In this case an espresso would be made first and boiling water would be added externally .
The so-called long coffee is a type of coffee in which the extraction of water in contact with the coffee beans is done in a more prolonged manner, which leads to a greater amount of infusion. It differs from the previous one in the fact that here it is directly the infusion that is produced in greater quantity , without having to add water externally. It is usually served in cups or even long glasses.
The carajillo is a coffee prepared as an espresso to which a certain amount of some spirit is added in addition to the infusion, most commonly brandy, marc or whisky. For this purpose, generally , first the previously heated liquor is made , to which the coffee will be added and later other elements such as sugar can be added. If brandy is used together with grated lemon rind, we get the so-called café brulé.
7. Coffee with milk
Similar to cutting, coffee with milk involves the incorporation of milk into the coffee, only this time an equal or similar proportion of milk and coffee is used. It has a sweeter and much less intense taste, but it is still powerful in terms of caffeine.
8. Café bonbon
A much more sweetened version of the coffee with milk is the well-known café bonbon variant, in which normal milk is replaced by condensed milk . This is usually put in first and then the coffee is added.
Cappuccino is another of the most common coffees, being similar to coffee with milk with the exception that in this case we will only find around a third of coffee, the rest being milk. Usually much of this is foamed, and is usually added in a sprinkled form some cocoa powder to give it a sweeter flavor.
This is a variant of café au lait in which, in addition to milk and coffee, chocolate or cocoa in the form of syrup or powder is used.
11. Irish coffee
A type of double espresso in which Whisky and a consistent layer of whipped cream or cream are added. Usually served in a cocktail glass .
12. Viennese coffee
A type of coffee that can be single or double espresso which is accompanied instead of milk by cream , in a lower proportion than the coffee itself.
One of the few variants whose conceptualization is directly like cold coffee, the frappé is made with instant ground coffee, ice and cream or milk.
Little known and also conceptualized as cold coffee, this variety is characterized by incorporating in addition to coffee, ice and milk one or more balls of ice cream, regardless of their flavor (but usually chocolate). It is practically closer to a dessert than to an infusion.
Those mentioned so far are probably the best known types of coffee, but they are far from being the only ones. There are many possible variants that are more or less common in different countries or regions, and even today others are emerging from time to time that incorporate new aromas or ingredients.